Switching Channels


Jonna Rae Bartges at home with a furry familiar. Photo by Rachel Pressley

Jonna Rae Bartges has an impressive background in the newspaper and TV industries. She directed communications for corporations like Disney and Sea World, and became an Emmy- and Addy-award-winning producer. Today the Arden resident, a renowned psychic, runs the nondenominational Practical Spirituality Institute. She calls herself “the happy medium” and proves her humor with her professional tagline: “I see dead people so you don’t have to.” Bartges will offer readings during this month’s ROTA Psychic & Healing Arts Expo in Flat Rock.

When did you realize you were psychic?

I was four when I had my first experience. I grew up hearing and seeing things, and my brothers would make fun of me and do the Twilight Zone music. But when I was little, I didn’t realize that not everyone had this. I was picking up on things but not knowing what was going on. 

You’ve said that in your early twenties you wondered if you were “psychic or psychotic.” [Bartges’ book Psychic or Psychotic? Memoirs of a Happy Medium was published in 2014.]

I was always seeking validation that I wasn’t just making this up. But sometimes I used it in college. During an exam I’d look at the professor and think, “Tell me, what’s the answer?” and then I’d see it. I made honor roll. 

When did you understand that you weren’t crazy?

I was getting all this blowback that this wasn’t real. So I went to different seminars to learn more. Then I met a retired physicist from the Navy who was creating a spiritual center in Black Mountain, and he invited me to become a resident psychic. That’s how I ended up here in Western North Carolina.

Is being psychic sometimes burdensome for you? 

That’s a good question; sometimes it can be very uncomfortable. People come for readings and you’re giving them information to help them make smart decisions for themselves. But you don’t want them to develop a dependency. I don’t want to be a guru. 

How do you manage that?

I get them to ask me a question they want answered. Otherwise, I feel like a psychic Peeping Tom. I can walk through the grocery store and feel who’s cheating on their spouse or about to flunk out of college, but that’s intrusive. So they ask a question and I do an affirmation to keep good energy between us, to connect with them in spirit. It’s nothing weird or witchy. What we used to call magic is now called quantum physics. There are two main frequencies: love and fear. Optimism, gratitude, connection. Worry, anger, control, jealousy. I teach people how to measure that and how to change that.

Psychic abilities are teachable?

Yes. I’m passionate about teaching others how to recognize and develop their own psychic sensitivity. I started teaching nurses to access this intuitive ability to help patients and to also do self care. I love to make the whole thing normal.

The Rota Psychic & Healing Arts Expo happens Friday, Sept. 24 and Saturday, Sept. 25, 10am-6pm, in the conference hall at Blue Ridge Community College (49 East Campus Drive) in Flat Rock. General admission is $9 (children under 12 get in free). Readings and healing sessions are $20 apiece. Most classes and lectures are free. For an update of readers’ and healers’ schedules, plus other vendors and attractions, see rotapsychicexpo.com. For more information about Jonna Rae Bartges and the Practical Spirituality Institute, see psistudies.com. 

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